Maintaining Your Automatic Swimming Pool Safety Cover

by Pool Builders on 12-21-2008 in Articles

All mechanical equipment needs a certain amount of preventative maintenance. This can be complete overhauls to simple replacement of worn parts. In an industrial or commercial setting, regular maintenance is an ongoing procedure in order to maintain regular operations. When equipment breaks down, there can be unrecoverable losses of revenue as well as man hours. Regularly scheduled preventative maintenance keeps these losses to a minimum, even preventing them altogether.

This article discusses the importance of preventative maintenance on automatic swimming pool safety covers, as well as long term replacement items.

All automatic safety covers consist of the same basic components: drive mechanism, tracking system and cover fabric. Today's cover manufacturers use high-grade materials for their pool cover systems, allowing for improved warrantees. More information on the components of automatic safety covers can be found in, "Operating Principles of Automatic Swimming Pool Safety Covers."

The most often replaced components on an automatic pool cover are the sliders and guides which hold up the leading edge of the cover fabric and guide the cover fabric into the tracks, respectively. These sliders and guides are made from high-density molecular plastic for strength and durability. As the cover fabric is opened and closed, these parts gradually wear down. After two or three years this wearing can lead to breakage which will generally leave the cover system inoperable. Replacing sliders and guides before breakage, generally every two years, is always recommended.

The second most commonly replaced part is the pull ropes. There are many reasons that ropes break on automatic swimming pool covers. An excessively worn or broken slider can cause a rope to break, as well as a worn or frozen pulley. There have even been cases where evidence of rodents gnawing through a rope has been present. When a rope breaks, the covers cannot be used to cover the pool, creating a safety hazard. Ropes should be inspected yearly for fraying and stretching, and replaced as needed.

Worn or frozen pulleys put undue stress on the pull ropes and drive mechanisms. If a pulley is completely frozen, the rope will simply snap due to the strain from pulling around a stationary point. Motors have to work harder, which can lead to overheating. Inspecting pulleys on a yearly basis is recommended.

Excessive dirt, debris and pool chemical build-up can shorten the life of these serviceable parts, while regular cleaning and inspection can extend their life. The actual point at which these parts will need to be replaced is dependent upon the size of your cover, the amount of use that it gets and the surrounding environment. Contact your cover service company for inspection and service.

The more expensive replaceable parts of an automatic swimming pool safety cover are the drive motors and the cover fabric. These parts have long life expectancies and regularly surpass their warranty periods.

The drive motors on today's covers are waterproofed for long-life in a wet environment, so water damage is very rare. If water damage does occur, it is generally within the warranty period. Worn parts as described above can put undue stress on drive motors and cause overheating which shortens the life expectancy of the motor and is not covered by warranty.

The cover fabric of an automatic pool cover system makes-up about half the cost of the entire system. The fabrics have been known to last as long as ten or twelve years, which is twice the warranty coverage on most cover systems. Keeping the covers clean will extend the life, as well as maintaining proper water chemistry. All mechanical equipment needs some degree of regular maintenance and with it; most products can be used for many years without ever paying out the amount equal to the initial investment.

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